Getting rid of garbage, wastewater
to cost more
By John Myers
Duluth News Tribune
Published October 11, 2005
It's going to cost a little more to flush your toilet
and take out your trash in 2006.
The Western Lake Superior Sanitary District Board of
Directors has approved an operating and capital budget
with a 2.8 percent average increase in wastewater rates.
Charged to industry and municipalities, those rates probably
will be passed on to homeowners as well, although that
decision is up to cities and townships.
The increase follows hikes of nearly 5 percent for 2005
and 3.8 percent the year before.
Most of the increase will be allocated to help the district
repay bonds used to pay for new construction under the
district's 10-year, $86 million capital project, said
Kurt Soderberg, executive director.
Of the district's $21.6 million annual wastewater budget,
nearly $7 million is going to pay off debt -- mostly for
projects aimed at keeping untreated sewage out of the
environment during heavy rains and snowmelt.
The WLSSD and city of Duluth have been ordered by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end all sewage
overflows into the environment. In addition to WLSSD improvements,
the city is spending millions of dollars on overflow storage
tanks and efforts to keep rainwater out of the sanitary
Duluth residents can expect their wastewater bill to
increase 6 percent during 2006 as the city passes on the
WLSSD increase and the city's own increased sewer system
repair costs, Soderberg said.
Meanwhile, the WLSSD's solid waste management fee also
will increase in 2006 after seven years at the same level.
Residents will see a 20 percent hike in the fee that appears
as a line on their garbage bill every other month. For
a 32-gallon garbage can, the fee will increase from $11.95
per year to $14.55.
In addition, all homeowners within WLSSD boundaries will
pay an extra $6 in property taxes, raising them from the
current $12 to about $18 per year in a special assessment.
That money will offset increased fees to dump WLSSD garbage
at the Sarona, Wis., landfill. It also will help subsidize
the WLSSD's materials recovery center, recycling programs,
the composting program and household hazardous waste collection
Fees charged to garbage collectors that transfer trash
at the WLSSD plant increased in July and will not go up
again Jan. 1. Current tipping fees are $33.88 per ton.
Consumer rates for disposal or recycling at WLSSD's Materials
Recovery Center at the former Rice Lake Landfill site
won't change for 2005.